In Southeastern Michigan the average median income was $50,750 in 2015, according to the American Community Survey. Of the seven counties in the region, Wayne County had the lowest median income at $41,210 while Livingston County had the highest at $75,200. Although Livingston County had the highest median income in the region it was Oakland County that had the most number of communities with median incomes above $100,000. In total, there were 12 communities in Oakland County with median incomes above $100,000 and the city of Bloomfield Hills had the highest median income, both county and region-wide, at $172,768.
Income disparity is a growing issue at the national and local levels. In Michigan, this disparity is particularly exemplified due to the fact that the average hourly wage in the state has decreased from what it was a decade ago. According to a recent Crain’s Detroit article, the median hourly wage in Michigan in 2017 is $17.32 and in 2007 it was $18.67. In 2010 in Michigan, residents had a 46 percent chance of out earning their parents, according to a recent Stanford study, which is highlighted in the Crain’s article. The example in the article used to highlight this decline in wages is that in 1977 a newly employed high school graduate at General Motors was earning about $26 an hour (number adjusted with inflation) and today that wage is about $16. Other aspects that contribute to an individual’s economic mobility include access to jobs, particularly those with higher wages, and educational attainment.
In next week’s post we will see how median income has changed regionally since 2000 and 2010, further exploring the claim that upward mobility has declined.